B-143725, SEPTEMBER 22, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 184

B-143725: Sep 22, 1960

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CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - COMPENSATION - PROMOTIONS - EFFECTIVE ON DATE OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960 EMPLOYEES WHO HAD REACHED THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY STEP OF THEIR GRADE AND WHO WERE PROMOTED ONE GRADE EFFECTIVE JULY 10. THAT IS. ARE ENTITLED ONLY TO THE NEW INCREASED RATE UNDER SECTION 112 (A) OF THE ACT (AMENDING SECTION 603 (B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949). THE REPORTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THAT IN AUGUST 1959. STATE DIRECTORS OF THE FARMERS HOME ADMINISTRATION WERE REQUESTED BY A DIRECTIVE DATED MAY 13 TO PROCESS PROMPTLY PROMOTIONS BASED UPON THE NEW STANDARDS AND TO PUT THEM IN EFFECT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD IN FISCAL YEAR 1961. THAT IS.

B-143725, SEPTEMBER 22, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 184

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - COMPENSATION - PROMOTIONS - EFFECTIVE ON DATE OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960 EMPLOYEES WHO HAD REACHED THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY STEP OF THEIR GRADE AND WHO WERE PROMOTED ONE GRADE EFFECTIVE JULY 10, 1960, THE SAME DATE THEY ALSO BECAME ENTITLED TO THE GENERAL SALARY INCREASE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960, 5 U.S.C. 1113 NOTE, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS HAVING RECEIVED THE HIGHER RATE OF COMPENSATION UNDER THE PROMOTION ON THE DAY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SALARY INCREASE ACT, THAT IS, JULY 9, 1960, BUT ARE ENTITLED ONLY TO THE NEW INCREASED RATE UNDER SECTION 112 (A) OF THE ACT (AMENDING SECTION 603 (B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949), WHICH RATE REMAINED THE SAME UPON PROMOTION TO THE HIGHER GRADE BECAUSE OF THE GENERAL COMPENSATION PROMOTION RULES CONTAINED IN SECTION 802 (B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 5 U.S.C. 1132 (B). 36 COMP. GEN. 217, DISTINGUISHED.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, SEPTEMBER 22, 1960:

ON AUGUST 8, 1960, THE ACTING SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPER APPLICATION OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960, 74 STAT. 298, 5 U.S.C. 1113 NOTE, EFFECTIVE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT JULY 10, 1960, TO THE SALARY RATES OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVE PROMOTIONS ON THE SAME EFFECTIVE DATE BY REASON OF NEW CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS APPROVED BY THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

THE REPORTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THAT IN AUGUST 1959, THE COMMISSION ADVISED THAT NEW STANDARDS HAD BEEN APPROVED AND THAT THEY WOULD BE RELEASED FORMALLY IN THE SPRING OF 1960. IN MAY 1960, STATE DIRECTORS OF THE FARMERS HOME ADMINISTRATION WERE REQUESTED BY A DIRECTIVE DATED MAY 13 TO PROCESS PROMPTLY PROMOTIONS BASED UPON THE NEW STANDARDS AND TO PUT THEM IN EFFECT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD IN FISCAL YEAR 1961, THAT IS, JULY 10, 1960. ALL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PROCESS THE PROMOTIONS RESULTING FROM THE ADOPTION OF THE NEW STANDARDS WERE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO JULY 10, 1960, BUT THE PROMOTIONS ACTUALLY WERE MADE EFFECTIVE ON JULY 10, 1960, TO ACCORD WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD.

AS A RESULT OF THE PROMOTIONS AND THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT BEING EFFECTIVE ON THE SAME DATE, NAMELY JULY 10, 1960, THE QUESTION IS RAISED WHETHER THERE SHOULD BE APPLIED THE PRINCIPLE EXPRESSED IN 36 COMP. GEN. 217, TO THE EFFECT THAT WHEN TWO SALARY BENEFITS OCCUR AT THE SAME TIME THEY MAY BE PROCESSED IN THE ORDER WHICH WILL GIVE THE EMPLOYEES THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT; OR WHETHER THE APPLICATION OF SUCH PRINCIPLE IS PRECLUDED BY THOSE PROVISIONS IN THE 1960 SALARY INCREASE ACT WHICH GRANT INCREASES IN SALARY ON THE BASIS OF BASIC COMPENSATION RECEIVED ,IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION.' AS AN EXAMPLE, TO APPLY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960 TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS IN THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-3 AT A SALARY RATE OF $4,350 ON JULY 9, 1960 (PRIOR TO HIS PROMOTION TO GRADE GS-4 ON JULY 10, 1960), RESULTS IN AN INCREASE OF SUCH SALARY RATE OF $4,705 PER ANNUM. THEN APPLYING THE GENERAL COMPENSATION RULES APPLICABLE TO PROMOTIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 802 (B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1132 (B), ON THE BASIS THAT PROMOTION TO GRADE GS-4 BECAME EFFECTIVE ON JULY 10, 1960, THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE SAME SALARY RATE IN GRADE GS-4, NAMELY, $4,705 PER ANNUM. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT BE VIEWED AS NOT APPLYING TO THE SALARY RATE OF THE EMPLOYEE UNTIL AFTER PROMOTION TO GRADE GS-4, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO A SALARY RATE OF $4,775 PER ANNUM.

SECTION 112 (B) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960, 74 STAT. 298, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

THE RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO WHOM THIS SECTION APPLIES SHALL BE INITIALLY ADJUSTED AS FOLLOWS:

(1) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AT ONE OF THE SCHEDULED OR LONGEVITY RATES OF A GRADE IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, HE SHALL RECEIVE A RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE CORRESPONDING SCHEDULED OR LONGEVITY RATE IN EFFECT ON AND AFTER SUCH DATE.

OUR DECISION IN 36 COMP. GEN. 217 INVOLVED SIMULTANEOUS SALARY CHANGES OTHER THAN A GENERAL SALARY INCREASE SUCH AS AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960. UNDER THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF THAT ACT THE INCREASE OPERATES ONLY ON THE BASIC COMPENSATION AN EMPLOYEE WAS RECEIVING IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF, THAT IS JULY 9, 1960. HERE, USING THE EXAMPLE PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO, THE EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION ON JULY 9, 1960, WAS $4,350 PER ANNUM, THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY RATE OF GRADE GS-3. THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CONTRARY INDICATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT (AND WE FIND NONE), WE CANNOT IGNORE THE LANGUAGE OF SUCH ACT AND MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE EMPLOYER IS ENTITLED ONLY TO THE NEW INCREASED RATE PROVIDED IN SECTION 112 (A) THEREOF IN LIEU OF THE RATE OF $4,350 PER ANNUM IN GRADE GS-3, NAMELY $4,705 PER ANNUM. THAT RATE REMAINED THE SAME UPON PROMOTION TO GRADE GS-4 BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 802 (B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, SUPRA.

WHILE THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION MIGHT HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO PROCESS THE PROMOTIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES PRIOR TO JULY 10, 1960, THE FACT REMAINS THAT SUCH PROMOTIONS ACTUALLY WERE STATED TO BE EFFECTIVE JULY 10, 1960, AND WE MAY NOT REGARD SUCH PROMOTIONS AS EFFECTIVE AT ANY PRIOR DATE SO AS TO INCREASE THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEES UNDER THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1960. SEE B-137839, DECEMBER 17, 1958, B-138461, JANUARY 28, 1959, AND B-142400, APRIL 8, 1960.